LINGUIST List 7.218

Sat Feb 10 1996

Disc: Rigour, Aitchison, Spelling, Metaphors

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <dseelyemunix.emich.edu>


Directory

  1. Deborah D K Ruuskanen, Re: 7.206, Disc: Linguistics & Millennium, Re: vol-7-102
  2. Roger Blench, Comment re Aitchison lectures, Re: 7.200
  3. "Ronald Kephart", Phonemic spelling, Re: 6. 1756
  4. "Ronald Kephart", Orientational metaphors

Message 1: Re: 7.206, Disc: Linguistics & Millennium, Re: vol-7-102

Date: Fri, 09 Feb 1996 10:01:25 +0200
From: Deborah D K Ruuskanen <druuskancc.helsinki.fi>
Subject: Re: 7.206, Disc: Linguistics & Millennium, Re: vol-7-102
I would like to second Moonhawk's views on what constitutes "rigour" in
science. As a professional translator / linguist, I have LONG been
aware of the problems involved in trying to make mathematical models
of language: in my opinion these models will NOT work until the
definition of "reality" is made such that it includes "humanity", and
the machine translation people find a way to include ALL the mess and
fuzzy sets of language as she is spoke. The observer paradox applies
as much to linguistics as it does to physics. Further to the comment
of languages being heavily verbal or heavily nominalized: I wonder
if the fact that Finnish seems to nominalize EVERYTHING has anything
to do with my Finnish colleagues being enamoured of and VERY GOOD at
quantitative linguistic studes, but these same colleagues have trouble
understanding my methodology which takes into account such variables
as how the translator happened to be feeling the day she did the 
translation.
I would be very happy to further discuss this with anyone who wishes 
to contact me personally: it has a direct bearing on my Doc. Habilus
thesis. Thanks to Moonhawk for stating the problem so well.
- 
Deborah D. Kela Ruuskanen \ You cannot teach a Man anything,
Leankuja 1, FIN-01420 Vantaa \ you can only help him find it
druuskancc.helsinki.fi \ within himself. Galileo
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Comment re Aitchison lectures, Re: 7.200

Date: Thu, 08 Feb 1996 15:15:03 GMT
From: Roger Blench <rmb5hermes.cam.ac.uk>
Subject: Comment re Aitchison lectures, Re: 7.200
A middle-class Brit writes:

In reference to Professor Jean Aitchison`s talks I am very surprised at
all this interest. It seems to me that almost every day I turn on the
radio in England this particular debate is being played out. On the one
side the aesthetes and the normativists, grumbling about declining
standards and on the other the `language is in rude health` brigade,
celebrating diversity etc. These positions are so well known it is hard
to raise any enthusiasm for another rerun. As an ironist in the Grauniad
pointed out, the Rupert Murdoch Professor will be delivering her
celebration of diversity in mainstream Received Pronunciation.

Perhaps to take the debate onwards we might consider the political
function of inarticulacy. Since clarity and articulacy are still very
much a fundamental means of accessing power and wealth you could ask, why
is it in the interest of the middle-classes and the elites to celebrate
lects with restricted or non-standard vocabulary?

Roger Blench
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: Phonemic spelling, Re: 6. 1756

Date: Fri, 09 Feb 1996 14:40:11 EST
From: "Ronald Kephart" <rkephartosprey.unf.edu>
Subject: Phonemic spelling, Re: 6. 1756
One language that has an orthography from which pronunciation is totally
predictable is Aymara (Peru/Bolivia/Chile). The spelling system was
designed by Juan de Dios Yapita, a native speaker who studied
linguistics at the University of Florida. See his chapter in The Aymara
Language in its Social and Cultural Context, ed by M J Hardman (Univ. of
Florida Press).

Another is Kreyol (Haiti). See Ann Pale Kreyol, by Albert Valdman (U of
Indiana Creole Institute).

I designed a phonemic spelling for Creole English as spoken in
Carriacou, Grenada, West Indies, and then used it in a literacy
experiment carried out there in 1982-84. The most accessible
description is probably "Dem Wod Mo Saf": Materials for Reading Creole
English, which can be had thru ERIC #ED 348 658. Or, write me and I'll
send you a copy.

Ron Kephart
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL 32224




Ronald Kephart
Dept of Language & Literature
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL USA 32224-2645
Phone: (904) 646-2580
E-mail: rkephartosprey.unf.edu
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 4: Orientational metaphors

Date: Fri, 09 Feb 1996 14:39:06 EST
From: "Ronald Kephart" <rkephartosprey.unf.edu>
Subject: Orientational metaphors

The Aymara language (Peru/Bolivia) places future time at the speakers
back, while future is in front. The Aymara expression for 'tomorrow' is
q"ipi uru (the day at my back; lit back-day) while the term for the past
is nayra timpu (the time before my eyes; lit eye-time). Aymara speakers
say that to "see" the future, people have to glance back over their
shoulder.

This ties in strongly (I think) with the fact that visibility to the
speaker, i.e. personal knowledge, is marked grammatically in Aymara
sentences. There is real logic here, in that the past, which has been
seen, is in front, while the future, which has not yet been seen, is
behind.

See The Aymara Language in its Social and Cultural Context, ed by M J
Hardman (Florida Press, 19??).

Ron Kephart
Lang & Lit
Univ of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL



Ronald Kephart
Dept of Language & Literature
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL USA 32224-2645
Phone: (904) 646-2580
E-mail: rkephartosprey.unf.edu
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue